Houseplants are a classic decorating tool, but lush indoor greenery can also be good.
According to some scientists, plant health benefits include removing toxins such as benzene (a volatile organic compound found in gasoline that is known to be carcinogenic) from indoor air. It is said that there is a possibility that it may be included.
And with air quality issues on the minds of many, especially in the post-pandemic era, houseplants are beginning to sprout everywhere.
Now, according to a new study, Ambius, the maker of a sleek “green wall” that showcases indoor plants, has come up with a design that’s highly effective at removing indoor air pollutants, including benzene, in just eight times. 97% of toxic compounds were removed. time.
“This is the first time that plants have been tested for their ability to remove gasoline-related compounds, and the results are surprising,” says Professor Fraser Torpey of University of Technology Sydney. said in a news release.
But some scientists are throwing cold water at plants’ ability to purify indoor air.
In 2019, researchers How plants can quickly and effectively remove VOCs.
Their study showed that it takes approximately 10 to 1,000 plants per square meter to improve air quality as much as a typical building ventilation system.
A 1,500-square-foot home is equivalent to a dense jungle with at least 680 houseplants.
“Plants remove VOCs, but their removal rate is so slow that they cannot compete with the air-exchange mechanisms already in place in buildings,” said co-author of the study, Drexel of Philadelphia. Michael Waring, an environmental engineer at the university, said: told National Geographic.
Another Paris-based startup, Neoplants, is now selling 30 regular houseplants, as well as “superplants” that are said to be genetically modified to clean the air.
Although it looks like a regular pothos houseplant (the familiar ivy with heart-shaped leaves), the Neo P1 retails for $179.
The plant also requires a bacterial supplement, ‘Powerdrop’, which must be purchased and added to the plant’s soil monthly to continue breaking down VOCs.
“The viability of these bacteria decreases as soon as you ship the product to someone,” said Jen Brophy, a researcher at Stanford University who owns a lab that develops genetically modified plants. I’m here. told MIT Technology Review.
“It would be great to have lots of beautiful plants that clean the air,” Elliot Gull, a professor at Portland State University who studies indoor air quality, told National Geographic. “But there are more effective ways to purify indoor air.”